The following press release was issued by the Massachusetts State 911 Department on January 16, 2019:
The Massachusetts State 911 Department is pleased to announce that Text to 911 is now available throughout the Commonwealth. All Massachusetts 911 call centers now have ability to receive a text message through their 911 system. The Baker-Polito Administration has supported making these system enhancements since 2015.
Text to 911 allows those in need of emergency services to use their cellular device to contact 911 when they are unable to place a voice call.
“This is a significant improvement to our 911 system that will save lives,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Tom Turco. “By giving those requiring emergency services this option we are greatly expanding the ability of first responders to provide critical assistance to those in need.”
To contact emergency services by text message, simply enter 911 in the “To” field of your mobile device and then type your message into the message field. It is the same process that is used for sending a regular text message from your mobile device. It is important to make every effort to begin the text message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that you can.
“Having the ability to contact a 911 call center by text could help those being held against their will or victims of domestic violence unable to make a voice call,” said Frank Pozniak, Executive Director of the State 911 Department. “Text to 911 also provides direct access to 911 emergency services for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired, which is a service that these communities did not have access to until now.”
It is important to note that the 911 call center may not always have your exact location when they receive your text. For this reason, when sending a Text to 911 it is important to make every effort to begin the text message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that you can.
The State 911 Department encourages citizens to Text to 911 only when a voice call is not possible.
Remember: “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”